BVI Guide to Hiring Watertoys and Where to Use Them
If you’re planning your British Virgin Islands (BVI) charter this year, local businesses need you, so don’t forget the watertoys. We’ve been talking to our affiliate partner, Scott Hustins, the helpful owner of Island Surf & Sail Ltd about what you need to think about when hiring and using watertoys, as well as his insider recommendations on where to use them across the BVI…
The company was founded in 2004 and we took over the business in 2007, starting with just one surfboard and two kayaks! We have slowly expanded our inventory over the past 10 years and now offer a plethora of fun water toys for the charter boat industry.
We offer everything you need to compliment your charter including:
- Three types of paddleboards
- Double kayaks
- Fishing gear and permits
- Snorkel gear
- Floats and accessories
- Dinghy ladders
- Beach chairs and shades
- We even rent guitars
Paddleboarding has been around for a while but there are constant improvements to board designs and we try to stay on top of the latest innovations.
Things to consider when using watertoys
The essential kit for a charter around the BVIs includes a couple of paddleboards and a couple of floats to have a fun time. The dinghy ladders are very popular if you don’t feel strong enough to drag yourself back into your dinghy after a snorkel.
Our advice when renting watertoys is to know your limits. Always let a crew member know if you are going for a paddle or kayak and make sure you know what the wind and currents are doing. It may be a breeze to go in one direction but a big struggle when you turn around to get back to the boat! A general rule of thumb is to always start a paddle, or snorkel against the wind and current, so that when you get tired, it’s easy to coast back.
Expert tips on paddleboarding
Paddleboarding is a skill, so find a calm bay and choose a day with minimal wind. Start on your knees and make sure you are holding the paddle correctly (ask us for a quick lesson if you are new to it). Slowly stand up with your legs square, either side of the handle and shoulder width apart (not like you would stand on a surfboard). Make sure you take your time. You will fall in the first few times so give it a chance and persevere! If the nose of the board sinks, you are too far forward and if the tail of the board sinks, you are too far back. Usually the handle of the board is a good place to stand and you can adjust your feet from there.
Top BVI spots for using watertoys
There are so many gorgeous places to kayak in the BVIs and I personally love the Bight at Norman Island and Little Harbour at Peter Island, as they are both always so protected. If you prefer paddleboarding, it’s fun to paddle from Apple Bay to Smuggler’s Cove when it’s calm and Little Harbour at Peter Island is also great for paddleboarding.
My favorite dive site is the HMS Rhone and the stern section is good for snorkeling in the right conditions. There’s nothing like diving on a 150 yr old wreck with an amazing story behind it. The Indians is still an amazing snorkel and the Caves at Norman Island are always a crowd pleaser. Legend has it that a local fishing family actually found treasure in one of the caves about 120 years ago, and promptly moved to the USVI and opened a store!
Awesome places to eat
Our favorite off island eating spot in the BVI is Cooper Island. They are an eco-friendly, solar-powered boutique resort with excellent, reasonable priced food in a delightful beachfront setting. Not to mention their rum bar. They suffered considerable damage in Irma but I’m happy to say they just reopened and are even better than before. We are also excited to see that the new Willy T has arrived back in the BVI. We definitely recommend visiting the Willy T for food and drinks.
Look after our coral
Please don’t feed the fish at any location, even if you see others doing it. Among many reasons, feeding the fish deters them from eating the algae off the coral. The algae will eventually suffocate the coral and the coral dies. Our ecosystems are so fragile and everything is interconnected so please refrain from doing this – not to mention cheerios, bread and popcorn. They are not high on the list of nutritious food for fish.
Our Irma recovery
Hurricane Irma caused us to lose our office and everything that was not waterproof but, thankfully, the majority of our inventory survived and we are now operating out of our house until our original location at Sopers Hole can be rebuilt. At the moment, business is slower than usual but visitors are starting to return to the islands. We rely on the bareboat industry for rentals and as the charter companies recover, we hope to grow with them. It may take a while, but we all need to be here for each other in times like this and a warm welcome is waiting here for old and new customers.